This should make EVERY Lakers/NBA fan very happy!
O.C. Register: “The best player on the planet,” as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Kobe Bryant late Wednesday night, can’t wait to make the Earth move some more in 2010 and ’12.
Bryant said Wednesday night he is willing to commit to play for USA Basketball in 2010 at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, where Bryant expects to go for the gold again.
“The chance to represent your country, that’s not even a thought-process for me,” Bryant said Wednesday. “If they want me to be on it, I’m all game.”
Bryant’s words should stabilize the U.S. ship at a time when many of Bryant’s teammates from the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team are choosing to be future international men of mystery.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo wants to bring back his best players for 2010, because if the U.S. can win the world championship, it would avoid playing in an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2011 and could rest its top guns that summer.
The two other leading weapons on the recent U.S. team, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, are uncertain about 2010. Both might be navigating NBA free agency that summer if they opt out of their current contracts with Cleveland and Miami, respectively.
But Bryant, who can opt out of his Lakers contract this summer, suggested an intention to remain a Laker with his unsolicited quip about facing off with Lakers teammate Pau Gasol for the 2010 world championship.
“Plus, I want to give Pau a chance to avenge his defeat,” Bryant said with a smile about future international competition.